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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found out at eleven thirty this morning that my two guns were ready for pickup.

At two o'clock I walked in the door to Walter's shop (after stopping to pet the kittens outside, of course). His shop guy saw me and said, "I know why you're here."

Two-tone Birdsong Black and Green.



I also had a 1967 Smith & Wesson M58 M&P done in all black, but the Hi Power was the primary one I was interested in.
 
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I want you to show that to every Glocker who insists that old-style carbon steel guns can't look "tactical," like a polymer auto.

That is just plain one of the coolest Hi-Powers I've ever seen.

I'm curious to see how black/green T holds up on parts that get a great deal of contact, like the barrel. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey, man.

The T finishes are "self lubricating," so when you have two surfaces together, you end up with really slick functioning. The trigger pull on this gun decreased to the point where I'm going to wait on shooting it until I can get the heavy return spring in it. I was planning to do so anyway, but now the need is a necessity. As for slide to frame friction, there simply ain't none. :) The metal will eventually show through, but there won't be a lot of shiny areas.

I figure the FBI and LAPD SWAT, among others, know a good thing when they see it, and I rather like keeping my money close to home anyway.
 

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Hi there Leland,

What a beautiful job!

That is one of the most handsome combinations I have ever seen on a BHP!

The finishes lubricity has got to reduce a lot of wear on the moving parts.

I hope that you give us a range report once you get your heavier trigger return spring in it. Are you going to use C&S or Wolff?

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay, I ordered the heavy spring tonight, but I can't wait. I also loaded up a pair of 13-round magazines with S&B 124-grain ball. In the morning I'll go trim a few branches off the big fallen hickory tree in the backyard.

The gun shot okay the last time I checked it, but that was before all that slick stuff was added. FWIW, this is the gun that had the hammer following issue.
 

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Hi Leland,

Can you also post a picture of the M-58?

The very first handgun I ever bought was a M-58 back in 1986 when I lived up in Virginia. It served well for "dog duty" on the family farm where we raised sheep that were often preyed upon by wild dogs.

I would enjoy seeing Mr. Birdsong's finish on that as well.

I do get a bit nostalgic whenever I see a M-58 and relish the fact that I only paid $250.00 for it back then. Now they go for upwards of $750.00, if you can find one.

Thanks,

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Your wish is my command, Chris.

This S&W N frame left the factory back in 1967, roughly three years after the introduction of the weapon. It and its cartridge were touted as the solution to poor stopping power of the .38 Special, and the proposed market was among the nation's police agencies. A few departments did adopt it for varying periods of time, most notably the San Francisco PD, but training officers found that recruits and even veteran shooters were sensitive to the very fierce recoil and blast of the .41 round.

So the .41 Magnum became something of a bastard cartridge that few claimed, but like any other underprivileged child, there were some who adopted it and loved it like their own. (Don't you love my metaphors this morning?) In my battery I have a couple of older M57s in 4-inch configuration, and I have this one. With moderate lead bullet handloads (215-grain SWC @ +/- 950 fps) it would make a wonderful self defense weapon, but it's kind of on the bulky side for concealment. I just happen to like big old 4-inch N frames, though.



Here's what it started out looking like. The finish had several blank spots, but luckily there was no pitting.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
PS: I went out a few minutes ago and put a couple of mags through the Mark III. It was a completely boring experience, as Mr. Birdsong somehow or other got the sights back where they started out, and the 124-grain S&Bs just sort of headed downrange where they were supposed to go.

I did order the C&S heavy trigger springs off their website last night, so by the middle of next week the gun will be "finished" for my purposes. I've had it for about eight years, and it's had a whole lot of rounds fired through it, and I intend to fire a lot more.
 

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Leland,

The finish on the S&W M-58 is nothing short of "fantastic".

You have indeed restored the big N frame to its former glory! The before and after pictures tell the story very well indeed.

The .41 Magnum is somewhat of a bastard child, but also has an almost "cult like" following among experienced shooter and handgun hunters alike. I bought a Model 57 with a 6" barrel about 1990, but it never had the nostalgia of the big "cop gun" that never was.

Thank you for the great pictures.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My neighbor and shooting buddy took a full lug 7 1/2" M657 to Mr. B, and I saw the gun hanging on the wall yesterday. It's no longer a shiny stainless gun, but it's a heck of a lot more impressive. He's going to be stoked, and he's getting it back in time for deer season, so...

Added: Like I said, I couldn't wait on the new trigger spring.

I put roughly 90 rounds through the pistol today, including 26 of the S&B 124-grain, 50 of S&B 115-grain, and 15-20 115 Blazers. I had a total of ONE failure, which was on the first magazine of the 124s, when the slide didn't lock open on the last round; this was with the heavy 18.5-lb recoil spring.

I changed over to the standard 17-pound spring for some 115s and discovered that suddenly the point of impact had gone 2" or so to the left at 12 yards! Grouping was still good, but I didn't like the POI change. I then put the 18.5 spring back in the gun and tried it with some more 115 S&B. No surprises, only my POI went back towards center. The pistol cycled perfectly and the slide locked back at the end.

I'm calling today an unqualified success.

Here's the first two strings, the first mag fired nice and slow, then the speed ramped up somewhat on the second. On both I fired the instant I could get a good sight picture, but on that second magazine I rushed some. Ammunition was S&B 124-grain ball fired offhand at about 12 yards.

 

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Hello Leland,

Man she sure looks sweet, I really like the barrel being done in green.

Take Care,
 

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Hi Leland,

Great shooting and great range report!

I like the barrel being done in green as well.

Is this going to be your primary carry piece? If so, it would be great to get a follow-up report in a couple of months. I would like to find out just how the wear and abrasion qualities change with the new finish compared to some of your other pistols.

Again, thanks for the range report.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Chris, I might carry this one, but I won't do so regularly, though I have carried it a good bit in the distant past. The satin chrome BHP I added night sights and such to is more appropriate for that role. Let's just say that this one holds a certain warm spot in my heart, and by refinishing it I'm sort of making a statement about how I intend to keep it in what I call my "permanent battery."

I expect there will be some spots where the finish will wear through, but I'm not expecting this to be too much of an issue, since the gun is broken in very well already. I just field stripped the piece and cleaned it, which was quite easy due to the no-stick properties of the finish. When I reassembled I used a VERY light coating of molybdenum disulfide paste (from Bushmaster) on the frame rails, but that's the only lubrication I added.

The inside of the barrel is NOT coated, as the finish can't stand up to the heat generated by the powder gas, but the feed ramp is coated. I had a really good polish on the ramp, so the coating can only help.

Sorry to act so stoked, but getting these back is like getting two brand new guns for only a very small amount of money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Man she sure looks sweet, I really like the barrel being done in green.
There was absolutely no practical reason for doing that, but I was thinking of the aesthetics, not just the practicalities. I thought the small amount of exposed barrel broke up the lines of the black slide just enough to make things look just "right."
 

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Hi there Leland,


Sorry to act so stoked, but getting these back is like getting two brand new guns for only a very small amount of money.
No apology is required. If it were me, I would acting like a five year old at Christmas Time!

Both guns turned out great. Does Walter have a web site or email that lists his prices? What other colors does he offer on his finishes?

Thanks Leland,

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I AM a kid on Christmas morning! Two. New. Guns. In. One. Day.

I asked him why he didn't offer any other colors, and he gave me a layman's explanation of a scientific problem. Simply put, the finish color is not the result of a pigment; rather, the color is the result of the chemicals which are necessary for the coating to work. Apparently some finishes do use pigments, and these colorings weaken the finish. Walter said that it would take lots and lots of work to come up with a sand colored finish, for instance, but that the extra money the finish cost him in research and production costs would be much greater than the profit potential.

This, two colors, and those two required a quarter of a century of work. For what it's worth, he'll only do internal parts in black, as it's tougher than the green finish.

The best thing to do about pricing would be to just call him and ask.

W. E. Birdsong & Associates, Inc.
1435 Monterey Road
Florence, MS 39073-9748

(601) 939-7448
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I got a package from C&S today, so now the heavy return spring is installed. I used this event as an excuse to go shoot some more test rounds. I got a minor windage issue resolved, so now there's nothing left to do except go shooting for real next week when I get some days off.
 

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Hi Leland,

What was the minor windage problem and how did you solve it?

The explanation on the finishing selections of color make sense. If I choose to get my HP refinished it will be in black regardless. I know it sounds a little "uncreative", but that is just my druthers.

Regardless, I am very impressed with the new finish on the M-58 (even though it brings a pang of regretful memories to have parted with the one I sold years ago!).

Please give us an update next week when you get a chance!

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Chris, the minor windage problem was that when he refinishes a gun, Mr. B takes it apart, and that includes removing the sights, and there's the very real possibility that the sights won't go back to precisely the same spot upon reassembly. Anyway, my impact point was a hair to the left with the heavy spring, but with the lighter, original spring, the POI was pretty seriously off. (I was doing a lot of testing, you see, so I used both springs.) Anyway, I'm back to the heavy spring for good, and all is fixed now.
 

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LelandRay,

Hey, dude. Right good looking BHP. Although I would have held out for tropical colors... ;)

The M58 is a real peach. Like you, I have a warm spot for the big N-frames. Used to have a large collection, but downsized and now only have a 4" M57 .41 Magnum. Gone away from the long barrels. My .44 Magnum wheelgun is a 4" Colt Anaconda.

Wes

P.S. Got a buddy that might give his left one for that M58.
 
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